Archive for August, 2009

pest problems

August 14, 2009

I may be a backyard homesteader, but I haven’t exactly got rows of veg and trees bursting with fruits… and that’s for one reason. Well, two: rats and gophers. They’ve got me covered for ground and air assault. The gophers have robbed me of two tomatoes and one lovely squash, and the rats have taken all the walnuts and they will take the pomegranates the very night they all ripen. We got one gopher in the last month. And tonight we had a small victory over the rats.

The problem is that my housemates are reeeaaal big animal lovers and would strongly prefer that no small furry cute thing be harmed in the making of this farm. Me? I say, fuck that. The critters are eating our food and that’s money in our pockets. I won’t take any pleasure from killing the critters but I will do it without guilt. And tonight, I did.

We set one trap with peanut butter and twenty minutes later, the dogs started barking. So my housemate hands me a 2×4 and watches from a distance while his wife holds the flashlight for me. And I whacked the shit out of a poor little rat with its nose caught in a trap. The little dude was literally squirming around, dangling by its nose.

So that’s a good start. Hopefully we can get the yard cleared of critters by next Spring (no problem, really, unless I lose my 2×4) and I can really get crackin making things grow. Sobering that something had to die so I could do it.

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weekend lesson

August 10, 2009

One of the neighbors has been giving me produce from his garden, and Saturday I was trying to use up a bunch of peppers by making salsa.  The peppers he’s given me before were not spicy at all.  These however, were spicy with a vengeance.  And I processed them with my bare hands.

I then spent the next six hours trying to get my hands to stop burning, including rubbing them with salt, sugar, and baking soda (not all at the same time), using burn gel (yeah, that was a long shot), and rinsing them with cold water, hot water, and milk.  Cold water was the only thing that made the pain stop.

So then I spent the afternoon baking cookies (for the neighbor, ironically enough) and submerging my hands in a bowl of cold water whenever the pain got too bad.

I switched to ice and watched Kiki’s Delivery Service and Battlestar Gallactica, or was it First Blood?  Either way, my housemate took the ice away after the movies and started giving me shots of whiskey. 

I passed out around 9, and when I woke up the next morning, the pain was gone– though it did come back briefly when I took a hot shower.

I figure that as well as it worked, the cold water idea ended up backfiring because when you’re trying to get really cold hands warm, they hurt.  So by the end of the day I had quite a bit of pain.  Thank Bacchus for Jameson.

And I never want to see another chili pepper as long as I live.

ruining the day before it really starts

August 7, 2009

I’m eating leftover soup and sandwich for breakfast, which is having the unintended consequence of making me feel like the day is half-over.

But I’ve got my coffee, my iPod (4 Meg, fuck yeah!!), and a comfortable temperature in my office space (for once), and I am ready to get this ball rolling.

First, a quick note to whoever has been reading my blog thanks to search engine results– I must say I did not expect that.  I figured I would log in after two months of inactivity and see a flat line on my visitor’s log chart.  That’s a pleasant surprise– thanks.

And to anyone who likes me enough to have me on your feed reader… good things are in your future, my friends.  Good things, full of atheism, backyard livestock, three-layer-cakes, and a couple more swear words.

Stay tuned.